Summer is for Reflection and Relaxing

So I’ve been out of school for a week now and I’ve been wanting to write a post to reflect on this year over the last two weeks but I’ve been so busy that it has yet to happen. And then there is the deal of when I start one in my head its either too much or not enough to make a whole post on. So I’m going back to what I did at midpoint of the school year, a top 10 list of what I’ve learned the last week of school and the first week of summer break. I’ll try to keep it short, I’ll try. Here goes :

10. Relaxing is not laziness.
Last week I had so much to do but I took the time Monday to have a long lunch with my daughter then on Wednesday I got my “hair did” which was much needed. Both times I felt like I needed to work or picked up my phone to work. Luckily I stopped myself. We need breaks. We need to stop and enjoy the life we have.

9. Reflection is important.
Don’t just end the year thinking “that was good” or “that sucked.” Look back through the year, what worked, what didn’t. You can’t grow without reflection. Use data in that reflection. No matter what I reflected on I didn’t feel like I was successful this year. But when putting together the evidence of my end of year professional plan we have to do here in AL I saw data and I saw my successes.

8. You are not the failure you think you are. And when you do fail, learn from it, then share the knowledge.
Friday night I saw the movie “Mom’s Night Out.” The whole point was a mom going through all the stresses that women, especially southern women who have to smile and not have moments and be perfect 24/7, go though. This past year I have gone through a lot in my classroom. I’ve never felt like such a failure in my life. Usually I wouldn’t care. The last two years have really taken a lot out of me. I’ve lost all my confidence in myself as a teacher. It hurts. I’ve never had insecurities like I have and I let that control me sometimes. But in all of this, I looked at the data I kept up with throughout the year and saw what worked. I’ve taken that and tried to share this with y’all. Half of my PBL presentation last week was on “what I did wrong and how I changed it.” Why let others make your same mistakes?! I also learned others outside your situation see you a lot different. Being nominated for a Bammy floored me. I still don’t think I deserve that nomination but wow can I say humbled?!

7. You are your soul not your body.
Whether you’re like me fighting health issues or you have everyday physical insecurities, that is not what defines you. Changes have to be made to keep your body healthy but never let them stop you.

6. Social media can destroy faster than it builds.
I saw this first hand this week. I everyday is just part of our story, so we need to keep writing it when we’ve been torn down, so chin up. But please everyone, think before you post. Think about everyone affected. Never use the “I’m not naming names” comment but give enough details that everyone can guess. Just don’t. Think.

5. Yes, we are all entitled to a bad day, but keep it to yourself.
One bad day, one “having a moment,” one lashing out can destroy everything you’ve worked for. I have no advice for when it has happened but when you have insecurities or hurt, keep it to yourself until you have calmed down. You can’t take it back. You can only apologize so much. But damage is done. And that hurt is worse than anything else. One day can destroy the most important thing in yout life. Also, on the flip side, if someone hurts you on that bad day, be forgiving.

4. Don’t be just a presentor.
Many of you that read my blog go to conferences and present. When you do, take the time to meet people who are in your sessions. Make sessions have time for people to get to know those around them. Met some pretty cool people that I learned so much from in my sessions at #AETC2014 last week. I met a STEM teacher from a private alternative school who drove his hydrogen modified car hits students built to the conference. Totally learned so much from him. Met so many more through emails and tweets. Relationships are our key to learning, y’all.

3.  Establish an “Ask don’t tell” policy.
Changes have to be made. As a teacher or a principal, when those changes effect your students or teachers, ask their opinion. Even if you have made the decision and nothing will change your mind, run in by those people involved. That’s the difference between a leader and a boss. Just that little action can make people feel like they matter.

2. Your passions should become more.
Looking over my resume the other day (I’m still looking for a tech specialist job, know of any? I can’t move but I can travel ;), my mom and I noticed that I had the word passion in there a there times. But she said this “I know these are your passions, but look where you did _ and _, these more than passions, you’re an expert at this. They are now your expertise.” Wow that struck me. Yeah I guess so. It is easier to “brag” that we are passionate than experts. I look at the passion based learning movement, that’s what it’s doing, taking kids passions and not only are these passions making our world a better place, it’s giving them experience to be experts in something they love.

1. It’s about process not product.
When I talk about PBL my big focus is on letting teachers know it’s about the process not the product. I learned my own lesson this year. I feel like writing my own curriculum while teaching the class and trying something new was my own PBL. But here I am, focusing on products. Not the amazing process I went through. Isn’t that what life really is? This whole process. We don’t really have much of a product in the end, just what we leave behind.

So over the past few days I’ve been reflecting. This is just some of it. Have an amazing summer. Reflect and relax!

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